Beating of White Driver by Angry Mob After He Accidentally Ran Over Young Boy Ruled Not a Hate Crime
Ryan Gorman, Daily Mail (London), April 4, 2014
A 54-year-old white man has been left barely clinging to life after he was brutally beaten by a group of black men when he got out of his car to check on a young black boy he accidentally hit.
Steve Utash, from suburban Roseville, was beaten into a coma Wednesday by an angry mob in a poverty-stricken Detroit neighborhood after David Harris, 10, ran in front of his truck on a busy street, but police insist the incident was not racially motivated.
The gang also stole his wallet before leaving him for dead.
Utash is in extremely critical condition with severe head wounds, Detroit Police spokesperson Jennifer Moreno told MailOnline. It is not known if he will survive.
‘If it went on any longer, my dad wouldn’t be in the hospital right now, he would be in the morgue,’ son Joseph Utash told CBS Detroit.
Security footage from a gas station Harris and friends were standing in front of shows him inexplicably running into oncoming traffic before being mowed down by Utash’s vehicle.
Utash immediately stops to check on the boy, but several black males from their late teens to their early 20s quickly descend on the scene.
Police quickly ruled the incident an accident.
‘It was determined that the driver of the vehicle wouldn’t have had any chance of stopping,’ Moreno explained.
But what happened next is considered by Utash’s family to be an act of retaliation.
Police tell MailOnline that about a dozen young males attacked the married father of three, beating him into a coma that he still hasn’t woken from.
‘It’s not like he hit the kid on purpose and they were trying to get revenge,’ daughter Felicia Utash told WXYZ. ‘He literally just tried to stop and help the kid and people came out of nowhere and tried to kill him.’
His son Joseph Utash hinted it might have been a setup to rob his father, perhaps even a hate crime.
‘I think it was all a setup from the gate,’ he told CBS Detroit. ‘My dad’s been driving up and down Morang for 15, 16 years working for the same company . . . they know he has money and they robbed him.
‘As far as a hate crime, it might be,’ he continued. ‘You go in Detroit and you’re white, you don’t belong.’
Police immediately dismissed the notion.
‘We have no evidence to suggest it’s a hate crime,’ Moreno told MailOnline.
The boy’s father was arrested after a background check revealed he has an active warrant, according to the Detroit Free-Press, but police declined to say if he would be charged in connection with the beating.
Witnesses said Utash immediately pulled over to check on Harris after hitting him.
‘David was laying right in front of the driveway and he had blood coming out of his mouth,’ James Duston Jr., the boy’s godfather told WXYZ. He couldn’t move his body.’
The crowd ran towards the boy’s screams and mercilessly beat Utash.
‘This little boy was screaming,’ a woman told the Free Press. ‘There was a lot of people that came out. It was crazy.’
All hell broke loose.
‘I think it lasted about one minute and then they let him go,’ a bystander told WXYZ. ‘And then they jumped back on him again and they did it about three times and finally someone was trying to help the guy that got beat up.’
‘He had the biggest gash on his head I ever seen–he was bleeding from the mouth and he was unconscious when I first got there,’ Debra Hughes told WWJ.
Harris suffered a broken leg, he has since been released from a local hospital, Moreno said. A message left with the family seeking further comment has not yet been returned.
‘It was sad because I knew the guy was getting out of his car to try and see what damage he did,’ the witness added.
‘He got his,’ another witness to the beating told the Free Press. ‘He got beat up real bad.’
Both the driver and the boy were taken to a local hospital.
The boy’s family condemned the beating.
‘We don’t condone that at all,’ said Duston. ‘I told his mom and she just was like, no, we wouldn’t want that to happen.’
Doctors are still trying to determine if Utash will need surgery to save his life.